Friday, February 01, 2013

I hate boring people. Being boring isn't a condition, it's a choice. If you can choose to not be boring, why wouldn't you? And I'm not talking about quiet people, or shy people, because you will find that those people are usually the least boring people, and you will find that in fact the most outgoing and outspoken people can turn out to be the Most Boring People.

The world is what you want it to be. Colors are what you want them to be. Blue can just mean blue. "The curtains are blue" can just mean the curtains are blue. But blue is also the color of the sky on a clear day. Blue is the color of water in pictures we draw even though water is colorless and the color of the sea is just the reflection of the sky. Blue is the color of peace and unity - and is on flags precisely because of that, and flags define our national identity. Blue calms, and it also depresses. Blue is gendered, it is typically the color that denotes masculinity. Blue has two distinct shades to Russians - light blue and dark blue and they have different words to describe them. синий and голубой. Dark blue, light blue. Blue isn't always a color; it isn't always an adjective. It could be a feeling: I'm feeling blue. It could be a noun, with an extra letter at the end: I listened to some blues. It becomes historical and very, very momentous when capitalized. Blue is in my boyfriend's favorite quote from Arrested Development, "I blue myself." Blue, to me, represents mediocrity and people who just want to see blue as blue. I don't like the color blue. I much prefer red.

If I had my way English teachers would be paid more than any other teachers. More than teachers who teach you to be accountants, secretaries, clerks, The Management. Who teach you that the stupidest details of the stupidest shit matter. That you live your life just so you can end it in a cubicle. That you have no personal stake in anything except for how much money you make, and that it's a good thing.

Some call this snobbery. If this is snobbery the admission price to this elite circle of intellectuals is for you to read a fucking book. Read a poem one word at a time. Watch a play. Listen to music you can't find on the radio. Go to a museum. Even the great museums in New York City charge 10 dollars or less for admission. The Smithsonian on the Mall is free. My theater group charges no admission fees for our shows because we firmly believe in bringing free, quality theater to the students on campus. The weekly writing workshop I hold requires you to come with a paper/pen and an open mind.

People spend more than that on a pack of cigarettes. That is what's fucking wrong with this world.

Art isn't complicated. It's simple. All you need to understand art is the human heart. That's all Shakespeare is about. That's all art is about. Big movements are made of small hearts.

The saddest thing about all this - this denouncing of art, this calling it snobbery, this reckless disregard of what is truly alive around you - is that we are all poets inside. You are merely denouncing yourself. You have suppressed all the living in you and projected it outwards as hatred of what you see as other people living. We learned language and images before we learned anything else, before we learned that there is ANY sort of structure to things, before we learned the ways of cubicle living...we learned language. More than that, we learned confusion and disorder. We didn't understand why the word "blue" corresponded to what we saw. Who decided to make it so? Why is the sky blue? Why do we call it blue? We could accept it then, now we can't. Now if there are no fixed meanings and structure, we freak the fuck out. We look to our dictionaries and ledgers and smartphones and we find order again.

To take language for granted, to undermine the power of language, is the worst one can do. To use it for only boring means, like foreclosure deeds, is a travesty.

"We talk so abstractly about poetry because all of us are usually bad poets. At bottom, the aesthetic phenomenon is simple: let anyone have the ability to behold continually a vivid play and to live constantly surrounded by hosts of spirits, and he will be a poet; let anyone feel the urge to transform himself and to speak out of other bodies and souls, and he will be a dramatist." Friedrich Nietzsche lays it down for you.

I hate people who just don't get it. And by that I mean they refuse to get it. These are the boring people. Part of the ignoble, detestable, horrid masses, they refuse to bring art to their level (oh the irony dripping from my statements) and understand that it is all part of the living experience. They're all terrible to talk to. What people see as "unculturedness" in them is just a narrow mind to me. Refusal. Closed ears. Semi-open eyes. Negation of life. Loud voices saying absolutely nothing. Strong personalities that are hollow and empty inside. The will to live, to them, is to strive for things that mean nothing to them and they don't see it themselves. It is aggravating to be surrounded by these people. I want to, as Helene Cixous once said, shed poetic tears. It makes me want to retreat into my Plato's cave and dance with the shadows, celebrating existence in its most primitive forms.

Don't be boring. You were not meant to. If you are, I will hate you.

Monday, January 21, 2013

I am listing my favorite vegetables as follows:

1. Mushrooms
2. Corn
3. Escarole
4. Brussels sprouts
5. Sugar snap peas
6. Asparagus
7. Sweet potato
8. Okra/lady's fingers (only when cooked a certain way)
9. Some types of beans (chickpeas and lentils)

I like them because they are vegetables that taste good no matter how you cook them. Or, in the case of sugar snap peas and corn, when you eat them raw. I've been popping most of these in the oven and they come out tasting like little bits of heaven. I say the same for steaks, of course. I haven't given up my meat-eating ways. I don't think anything comes quite close to taking a bite of steak cooked the way you want it. In my case, medium-rare. (I'm sorry, cows. If you weren't made for eating, you wouldn't taste so good, even with minimal cooking. This fact is a big fuck you to vegetarian-preachers out there.) But my love for vegetables have been discovered and fulfilled upon my procurement of a kitchen. Fuck living in a dorm. Fuck sleeping and breathing in a bullshit cubicle of a room and then coming out into a tiny ass "common room" that is the size of a luxurious prison cell with no amenities whatsoever and looks exactly alike in every other room in the building and saps the life out of me (whenever I see photos taken in dorms I shudder to think of the years I've lived there and then laugh maniacally to myself about how I don't anymore).

Where was I? Vegetables and having my own place. It's great. Cooking has been both nightmarish and delightful to me. (I seem to have this relationship with most things that I enjoy.) I pretty much don't touch the cast-iron skillet - the man in the house handles that. But I work great (or so I think) with everything else that doesn't sputter oil in my face. I sound like some food blogger or the people who post their recipes online. Clearly I am reading too many of those blogs.

Vegetables in my refrigerator now are: escarole, brussels sprouts and half a bunch of kale - half of which I cooked last night. Verdict? Sure I'd have it again but not the biggest fan. I had coconut milk kale before and that was delicious but it was probably more of the coconut milk. Hence it doesn't belong in my list of favorite vegetables. There's also lettuce in my fridge but I am actively ignoring it because I hate it. (Bf bought it, not me.) Lettuce is one of those vegetables you eat because it's everywhere and it's cheap and so I eat it because of herd mentality, but I don't like it. Same thoughts about spinach.

I know there's a lack of "Asian greens" in that list and you will get the impression from my ultimate list of favorite vegetables that I have been whitewashed. But a) I actually had a lot of the above foods as a child (sweet potato soup, anyone??) b) I tend to get really sick of food that I've eaten endlessly as a child, with the strange exception of rice. God I love rice. But it wasn't something I truly discovered until I left Asia and was deprived of it. There's food psychology for you.

Okay. I'm going to stop rambling on about vegetables.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Paying bills drive me absolutely crazy. I hate that there is a fixed, recurring time that I have to do it by. It cuts up my life into these segments of time - the 1st of every month, the 27th of every month, the 15th, and so on. They kind of all collapse inwards and I lose all sense of time. Was it really just three weeks ago that I paid my credit card bill? It felt like two months. Was it really just two weeks ago that I was sitting in the same vehicle with my family, driving along the coast of California, and now they're two continents away from me? I can't seem to pin that memory down in any point of space or time in my mind. It's too hard to think that it's been two years and a half that I've been away, and it's even harder to think about the year and a half to come, and what after.

Phone bills, utility bills, rent, credit card... it goes on, relentless, whether or not you're ready to cough it all up. You get penalized here and there - a late fee, a warning, the "Fuck! Shit!" moment when you realize the 27th was three days ago and how did it slip past you again?

It destroys everything I know of today. I can't ever be happy with the present. That is my flaw. I cradle the future in my arms and I carry the past on my shoulders. I am caught in between the two poles and someday, maybe someday, they will both collapse on me in the most painful, violent, shocking way possible and I will learn to live in the present.

I am going to drown myself in some Zooey Deschanel comedy.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

You rally round the minorities...

Recently there's been this thing going on in the debate community about how using "you guys" is gendered and how we shouldn't use it because it reduces everything to the masculine self-same bla bla bla.

Or things like "dude" or someone defaulting to "man" as the term, such as in "man-down" and then some annoying fucking liberal pipes, "Why not woman?"

Because "woman-down" is the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard?

Because why don't you shove your armchair activism down your throat?

Like, I get the whole "this sort of rhetoric is the kind of social violence we perform on everyday level" behind this whole shenanigan, but it's this whole policing thing and who's doing the policing that really pisses me off. Whether or not someone says "you guys" does nothing for things like gender economic inequality or those crazies in the government who want to fucking take away women's constitutional right to abortion. It's fucking easy for a white girl born into an affluent family going to a rich white private college to say that and believe she's making a real change in the world because she told five of her friends to not say "you guys".

It's like suddenly everyone cares so much about minorities and oppression, and preaching their values about including more minorities in debate and acting all high and mighty because they are now supporting a good cause, like they're God's gift to these minorities...and then they go back to their comfortable lives doing jackshit for the groups they care so much about.

I just sit back and laugh, man. I laugh at the world and the irony of it all. At our inability to come to terms with our own privilege other than paying lip service to social movements and our narcissistic thinking what we say in our lives matters so damn much to other people. It is all just so laughable. I shatter your fucking fantasy with my laugh.

When you start policing people, you become the police. When you start preaching, you become the hegemon.

Sometimes, people just need to stop saying dumb things. Stop throwing around big words when you don't relate to them in any way. Stop trying to impose meaning on people when your own life is sapped of meaning because you are unable to see beyond material existence, your trite values and your TV screen.

Meanwhile, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy watching you live out your white guilt without ever coming to terms with it. It is pretty amusing.

Friday, December 07, 2012

I've been reading a lot about the écriture féminine lately. It means a body of feminine writing that produces our own meaning and resists male dominance, even if at first we have to use non-female language and non-female mediums. It is the metaphorical female body that speaks, that laughs, that dances, that cries, that loves.

Currently my écriture féminine is a ten-paged paper on Antigone and Nora from A Doll's House, and it is pathetic. I have zero inspiration to write it. It has five pages of ерунда, which is Russian for nonsense. I have to rewrite it, retell it and reproduce it. If that's my ecriture feminine (I'm going to stop adding the accents now they are a pain in the ass) I'm clearly not expressing myself very well.

Sigh.

A friend told me that the past two mornings was the first time in two weeks she woke up not thinking about the guy she had just broken up with. That is her ecriture feminine. I don't remember the last time I've woken up in the morning not thinking about my relationship. I don't remember the last time I have not thought about my relationship. Now, as I'm writing, I am thinking about my relationship.

It's not in a bad or good way. At least, it isn't anymore. And it's not just about the relationship, but about me and how I am as a person in a relationship. Because I do believe it's different. When you let someone else into your life, you change as a person. Your ecriture feminine changes. And it's important to realize that.

Sometimes I just feel existentially alone. It's a big word to drop at 11 in the morning, but it's true. When I walk two and a half blocks to wait for the bus to college with all the other people who live in my area waiting for the bus to college, I don't feel connected to any one of them. In fact, I loath them. I hate the girl who smokes a cigarette everytime she waits and then gets on the bus and coughs her lungs out. I hate her Gothic fashion - I don't know who she's trying to impress. I feel so extremely detached from my surroundings, from new people that try to enter my life, from some of my existing friends.

Yet I have never felt like I needed the company of people more than I have at any point in my life. I can't be alone anymore. Truly. I don't know what I would do. I used to love being alone, I'm sure I wrote a blog post about it at some point. Doing things alone, eating alone, going to the mall alone, reading alone. In my life, there was only me. And it was so much better. I made friends that were keepers for life, I met so many men, I was happy. Satisfyingly happy. So happy. All that just went away with age.

I'm not being nostalgic. I don't doubt I had troubles back then. I don't doubt I had heartaches occasionally. Or hard times. But they never got right to the core of me, because at the end of the day I had myself. Today, I don't know if I can say that anymore. Today, I finally understand why people go into the woods and meditate and try to "find themselves". Today, I understand the point of yoga and breathing exercises. Today, I understand how it feels to be human. So human. Too human.

And it's all because of him. This is my ecriture feminine. Take it, or leave it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The boyfriend likes shows about great people. Correction. Great male people. James Bond. Indiana Jones. Lincoln. Jed Bartlett from West Wing. Star Trek which is filled with great male figures, to those who like that sort of thing. He likes movies about space, adventure and beyond. To him, it's a form of escapism. It's a way to see things you could never see in real life. To him and people like him, movies are a way to look out and see things you thought were too big, too grand, too incredulous for human sight. To me, movies are microscopes. It's a way of looking inwards, of zooming in on things around you that you otherwise never notice or think about on a daily basis. I like movies about people, about life, about love, about raw human emotions that I am willing to bet is harder to capture than the life of the 16th President of the United States or  space travel.

I want to watch Perks of Being a Wallflower. I loved Juno. American Beauty is one of my favorite movies. I like inspecting the personal, rather than lose myself in delusions of grandeur. I've always been curious about this human need for something bigger than ourselves, which turns us to these fantastical images and larger-than-life characters on the big screen. Computer-generated images, special effects, big explosions, the green fucking screen ... these have taken precedence over having a compelling story and memorable characters. Of course the movies I've named are great movies because they've managed to do both, but to be honest, I've never been overly excited for these movies. I'd watch them, I'd enjoy them, I'd even rave about how good they are. I thought the new Bond movie's storyline was fantastic and I take as much delight in seeing the Aston Martin get completely crushed by the end... but when the next Bond movie comes out, I'd likely have forgotten all this and would go back to being indifferent.

My boyfriend was probably brought up to aspire to be one of these great male figures. I was brought up to be the damsel-in-distress, the wife, the sex object who also turns out to be the villain because she is the sex object. And so I turn to the pregnant teenager who is giving up her baby to a couple she picked out from the newspaper. Because at least it's not the same bullshit I've been fed since I was a kid.

Man I'm so fucking cynical it's so hard for me to like anything.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Why do we hurt the ones we love the most?

Why is it that when we're in the shittiest mood or the shittiest stage of life we can be okay to the rest of the world, but we take it out on the people we love? Because we trust them? Because we think they'll be okay? Because we all bounce back from being hurt? Is this what it means to love, and to be loved? If so then love sucks. I hate love. I wish I had never put my faith back into it. I wish we could call it by some other word. Not love. But something else. Something that'll erase all the pain and Judeo-Christian suffering that we've attached to the idea of love. Maybe there is something to Sweden's eradication of personal pronouns...not. I think it's stupid.

You never know. You never know at the start of it all if you're insured against being hurt. You buy a car, you pay some money up front, you pay a little every month, voila, you're insured. You can be a shit driver and know you'll wreck your car...heck, you can watch a car crash happen before your very eyes and you know you'll come out of it insured. Security. Something. What is there to insure you against having your heart ripped out of your ribcage - bloody veins and all - and thrown to the ground? And just left there. Not even trampled on or anything, but just laying there on the ground, all shriveled up from being in the wrong temperature and wrong acidity level or whatever. Just laying there, beating away, like a fish out of water.

I am genuinely ... perplexed. And I don't even just ask this of myself, or of my personal shit. I'm asking this as a universal question. Why do we keep loving if all we do is get hurt? But May Zhee, you say, maybe it's just you. I'm perfectly happy with my significant other! Well whoo-pee-doo for you, cheerful little redhead. How many times did you have your heart ripped out before you found him? Why does this guy make everything worth it? And then I get some stupid lovey-dovey reply in return.

Maybe we can call it "like". I like you, a lot. And that's enough. Maybe then we wouldn't attach all our expectations, our desires, all the important bits of who we are, onto it. Maybe then we wouldn't hurt so much. (Yes, I stole that line out of a Neil Labute play. No fucks given.)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Uninformed feminists piss me off.

And I know part of why I am able to be an informed person is my privilege of being able to go to a good school, have access to resources and discussion, to express my own opinions, and so on. And some people don't. But those aren't the people I have a beef with. It's the people who HAVE access to all these materials but choose not to see them or use them for some reason. Or maybe these people are just plain stupid.

I am an advocate for equality. All the way. But I'm very critical of the methods we use in getting there. And this is one of those instances.

Feminism, unfortunately, has fallen into this category where everything has been tried and tested, and we've made little advances compared to the efforts we've put in and the harms we've endured ever since the beginning of patriarchy. Last night me and the bf were talking about a feminist argument we are working on for debate, and part of it was about how the law comes from male desires rather than women's interests, even though we are the child-bearers hence the backbone of society. And I said, "Man, hasn't this shit been going on for centuries now? You would think we've made some progress in the past thousand years or so."

So this has been going on for a while now. And to ignore the vast history of female oppression is to ignore how you've come to understand yourself today. History matters. And I'm glad that through my English literature courses I've gotten a glimpse of that history, through how writers portray women and what the sentiments towards women were back then. Chaucer is just fantabulous. But most of these writers never go far enough.

Second, feminism is a field of contradictions. Being a feminist can mean different things. It can mean you embrace being a woman, but it can also mean you reject everything about being a woman. Or it can be both. And maybe it's my type of feminism that's coming up against another type of feminism that led to this rant.

I'm going to be honest. I don't know what the best path is for an egalitarian society. I think it's important to be vigilant and vocal. I think it's important women should be paid just as much as men. I think it's important that the same opportunities are afforded to women. I think it's important that women realize starting a family isn't their only path in life. I think it's important that women are critical, honest and brave. Most importantly, I think it's important for females to NOT be passive.

So for God's sake, when you tell someone they can't say the word "cunt" because it offends you and it's bad for women, shit isn't going to go anywhere. Cool, we know it's a derogatory term. Cool, we know it's gendered. But so are terms like "dickhead" and "cocksucker" but we don't bat an eyelash at them. Don't you think there's something unequal about not wanting to use the word cunt but being perfectly okay with words that describe the male genitalia? Don't you think that serves to reinforce the passivity of the female sex and privileges the visible (the penis) while further mystifying and obscuring the vagina, which has been a huge source of our oppression since the beginning of time? Don't you think your act of policing what people can or cannot say around you is patriarchal? Idiots.

So there. That's one thing I can't stand. Views that engender more passivity in women. Like views that say women are all about nature and peace and shit. Great. Haven't we heard this one already? Yes. Yes we have. For a long time men have painted women as peace-loving and one with the nature, while men are the ones who go out and fight wars and conquer the world, and so are the stronger sex. Peace-loving my ass. Fuck nature. I wasn't born from the earth. (I was born from my mother's vagina and childbirth is the most violent act anyone can engage in in their life.) I have nothing to do with nature. I would gladly exploit resources from nature as fast as the next man if it ensures my survival and well-being. It's called being human, and I know it sucks. I hate us too. I don't need to be one with nature to fight my oppression. That is a misrepresentation of what the female sex is and I refuse to participate in it.

Same goes with people who think they can sleep with a thousand men and so they've gained equality. Of course, that's a little different because males have also long painted women as sexual deviants - but in a negative light so there may be more to explore there in terms of resistance. It's also not as passive. But women as peace is pointless in a world where wars and violence will go on regardless of what a subset of feminists think about it. Saying you don't want to be part of that race just means you'll be left out of that race while it goes on.

Taking one class on feminism and then reading five books on it does not give you the right to go round enforcing what YOU think is and isn't feminist. (Come to think of it, no one should have the right to do that.) (Yes I think women taking control of the government and launching drone strikes can be feminist.) (I am by no means dismissing the "women love peace" views as unfeminist - I just think it's an unproductive variant of feminism.) Repeating again and again that my boyfriend is sexist, when he knows more about gender equality than you ever will and champions more for it than you as a white, privileged woman ever will, is stupid. Especially when everyone, upon hearing it from you, recognizes that it's not a valid claim anyway. (This is the kind of thing she would have indicted people for being "sexist". Omg you said my views aren't valid you're being sexist. No. It's because your views actually aren't valid...not because you're a woman.)

God I miss my rants.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wow. Has it really been a whole fucking month since I've blogged? Is anyone still reading this? WHY are you still reading this? I clearly suck as a blogger.

So I'm sorry. I've been busy. I had paper after paper due every week and I've had debate tournaments and whatnot. There were probably plenty of opportunities for me to blog but I didn't. Because I suck.

I am giving up on naming my blog posts. Seriously. Fuck giving these things titles. Like what the hell am I supposed to name this? I have no idea what the fuck this post is about. It's about me, goddamnit. This entire blog is about me. So that's what every post title should default to now. Me. I am a motherfucking narcissist. And I couldn't even spell that right the first time.

I suck with therapists. Like, I really do. The first time I went was a year ago when I thought I had depression (and might have............?). I sat in her office with this huge smile on my face and answered her questions like it was a fucking job interview. Maybe that's what I should name this blog post. Job interview. Jesus Christ I suck at naming blog posts. But anyway. So yes I generally suck at therapy because I am such a good mothafucking liar. I lie and I put on my everything's-great persona and I lie. Through. My. Teeth. Everything's fine, life's great, woofuckinghoo. I was so good she said we didn't need to have another session. I clearly wasn't depressed to her.

I don't think I can lie like that anymore. Not half as well anyway. Is that a sign of me getting better or worse? Sometimes you can't tell.

So I'm back in another therapist's office. Her name is Kaityln, however the fuck you spell that. Why are there so many variations for that name, seriously. And so I'm there, and it's a much smaller office than before. Thank God I wasn't seeing her for claustrophobia? Why do they make those offices so small. But anyway. I'm sitting there and I tell her I have anxiety issues. I worry, a lot. And then it derails my day. And then there are times when I would have anxiety attacks. And then I learned that the best truth I can tell her (or at least to stop myself from lying through my teeth) is this: I don't know.

I don't know why this is happening to me. I don't know why I feel down sometimes. I don't know why or what triggers the anxiety and downward spiral. Like the one I'm having right now. I don't know. I think her job is to get down to the bottom of this and find out why this is happening so I can stop it but man, I don't fucking know why this is happening to me.

I had a great life. Now I don't. My relationship has changed from what it used to be. I'm in my third year of college now. I'm a different person. I want a dog. I can't have a dog. So I want a cat. But I don't know if I can commit.

And now I should get off the fucking internet so I can do my reading for the next class that I am determined not to skip. I woke up and all this shit happened. I woke up and I had a bad day. It's like all I did today to trigger all this shit is that I WOKE UP.

I just want my life back. I feel like I've given it up to someone, something and that is so not cool. My days were actually going well, as far as I recall since my last visit to her on Thursday. I was not freaking out over things that I would have. I wasn't hating on everybody's shit nearly as much. I got work done. I was productive. I kept working and working like a well-oiled machine because I knew that if I stopped this would happen.

Now I'm going to end this blog post abruptly. So there's that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Me.

Here it is again. That feeling of dread. That feeling of dread that won't go away with sleep. Honestly at this point I can write a whole book of poetry about how I feel in the morning.

I don't want to come home tonight. The house is a piercing reminder of my insecurities and fears - so basically what makes me human. I've been living like I'm above it, but really I was nothing but just another soldier marching along in life. Being grounded has never felt this shitty. I feel like I need to leave.

I'm caught in a bojangle. It's not a real word and if it is a real word that's not what I mean. It just felt like an apt word for how I'm feeling now. He doesn't want me to change but who I am right now isn't doing either of us any good. I am this scared child wrapping myself in the covers because of what my world might think of me; he's perfectly fine in his world.

I don't want to come home tonight. I don't want to have to do all this work I should. My energy has been sapped out of me, much less my enthusiasm. But the world goes on in spite of me. Little, insignificant me.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

On the fringes.

Mornings just don't do it for me anymore. I am very much a morning person. I love nights and I'm nocturnal and I stay up to my heart's desires, but I have a far more complicated relationship with night time. My affinity for morning is pure and simple. It just makes me feel good. When I'm unhappy, I go to sleep. I wake up - after a bout of terrible dreams, which is how I'm starting to feel like my unconscious is pouring out - and everything feels fine again.

Last night I dreamed there was someone robbing people at gunpoint, and I was among them. I remember not having any money to give, and being afraid I'd die then and there. It's a lot more depressing when written out. I don't know why I have such morbid dreams.

I've been deprived of my mornings. The one thing that I have left... (I will say this for many things to come.)

Many people are proud of me for what I do, what I say and what I write. And I get that gratification from people. It comes from professors, friends, acquaintances and strangers (I still get commending e-mails from people. I am, of course, a jerk and reply none of them). I had a professor tell me I contribute a lot to the class whenever I raise my hand to speak, and I just know he doesn't say that to everyone. I have a professor who e-mailed me to tell me she loved the essay I submitted for a contest, and  - when I did not receive even a consolation prize - e-mailed me to tell me that I should have.

I am not a bad person. I am not a mediocre person either. People are really moved by my statements. I am a memorable person. I have so many people in college that I don't even know of, reading my blog. And they usually have good things to say about it. Man I fucking tweet and I'm retweeted by people I don't even know. And I'm not a celebrity. Not even a semi-celebrity. I'm just a person who goes to college and blogs and has a Twitter account.

And that's okay. I am okay with who I am. No one should make me feel bad about anything I say -- only I get to do that. I say this because recently I've surrounded myself with people who are less than encouraging about what I do. Sometimes it's in the form of outright judgment, sometimes in the form of being indifferent to me, sometimes I see gratification given to others, who are less deserving of it, but not me. And it really got me down sometimes. I don't think I've ever seen my self-esteem plunge this low.

I am not politically correct. Heck I'm not even politically acceptable. I am very open about things. I don't take bullshit from people. If I like you, I like you. If I don't, I don't give you my time. You are free to do the same to me. I may not come across as the nicest person up front, but if you can see beyond the exterior then you are my friend. The things I say and the things I like are fringe topics in our oh so very repressed society. Namely, sexuality and emotions. Try to get anyone to talk about this, or even listen to you talk about it - and it will make them squirm to their core. These things belong in the private! They yell. We shouldn't publicize them! If they're so private, then why do we all feel the same things? Why do we fall in love? Why do we fall out of love? Why do we enjoy sex of all kinds? Why do we all feel jealousy? For instance, I don't pass judgment on people who are into bestiality. Not even a little. I don't care what people do in their private time or what sexual desires they have, as long as it doesn't harm others. There are people who will rage over how bestiality is wrong because it harms the animals ... yet we kill and eat animals? Interesting to think about, isn't it?

So I wake up, and my head pretty much just explodes. It explodes with all the things that had plagued me the night before. It explodes with anxieties, insecurities and fear. A lingering fear that hums a low tune at the back of my head. And so what do I do? I blog. I blog because I know people out there are listening, and they sympathize. I blog because I'm speaking not just for me but for people, in general. And if you tell me you've never woken up bursting with anxieties and fear, then you're just a fucking liar.

I like who I am. I concede, I make mistakes. Sometimes I do say really stupid things, and it's not like I don't regret the things I say. I'm still learning, still developing my views, still very torn on where I stand on things. Do I choose sensitivity over telling the truth? Do I subdue myself because I don't want to make people around me uncomfortable? But I like who I am. The problem is, I've grown to like other people, and to put them in my life, and I'm not sure they like me entirely for who I am. I'm not even sure they like me enough to put aside what they don't like about me. More importantly, I'm not sure if I'm okay with them not liking me entirely for who I am.

I'm just not with the people I'm supposed to be with. But maybe that's a good thing.

Friday, September 07, 2012

The empty bus ride.

I hate the English language. Other than its universality, I literally like nothing about the language. An obvious argument against this is it's the language of Chaucer and Shakespeare, but no one writes like Chaucer and Shakespeare anymore, do they? No one writes like Nabokov, whose first languages were Russian and French. I have yet to see a contemporary English-speaking writer blow me away with just their language. There is no depth, no life, no passion about this language. At least not anymore. The time of the classics has long gone.

I hate that I never delved into Chinese and Chinese literature. I hate that Russian is such a hard language to learn. I hate that I am not pursuing Spanish for the time being. You know who are beautiful writers? Marquez. Kundera. Nabokov. Hemon. Syjuco. None of them had English as their primary language, or at least their only primary language. The closest I can come up with is Oscar Wilde, but even that is a time long gone, and that would be nothing compared to reading Dovtoesky in Russian, or Love in the Time of Cholera in Spanish. A man I slept with once told me, English is a poor language to write in. It is a pity you write in English. I agree, and I think about that everyday.

I say this because tonight, at my theater group auditions, a student from Poland who auditioned for acting ... took my breath away. He reminded me why I was fascinated with Russian culture (or Slavic and/or Eastern European culture), why I am pursuing it as an academic interest and why my heart beats for Russian literature. He chose an excerpt from a play by a Polish writer. Written in Polish, he translated it himself into English just today. It's about a poet in a mental institute who tries to seduce a nun. So much jampacked into so little. His words were beautiful - the poet's, the writer's and this student-actor's. I can only imagine the wonders it would have done in its original language, but still the beauty shone through English's creaks and crevices. But the fact that this was the play and excerpt this Polish chose, how he even gave us a little background to the play (which barely any of the other auditionees did), and even encouraged us to read this playwright's plays because he's just that good ... emotions swelled up in me. I need this in my life.

Today I found a Russian saying that I've been searching for over a year. My Russian professor mentioned it in his speech when he was receiving an award for excellence in teaching, and I had really liked it, but I didn't remember it after. I knew it had something to do with learning and teaching, but Google refused to give me good searches. The terms was, as I found out in class today, "Уча, учимся". It means when you teach, you learn. Doesn't that translation sound absolutely horrible to you? Half of the beauty in that proverb is lost. It is pronounced "ooh-CHA, ooh-CHIM-sa". Notice the alliteration. How the words just come together, seamlessly. In Russian, "teach" and "learn" are the same words. Isn't that interesting? Doesn't that give you an insight into the Russian mind?

Something has fundamentally changed in me. I am bored. My life here is comfortable, and Americans want to think comfort is happiness, but to me it is not. And that's why I feel so trapped in their idea of happiness. They try to sell it to me, and I am lapping it all up, but inside me I just know it's not right. Happiness is not being able to get all your dorm supplies at Walmart. Happiness is not finding the right dress. Happiness is not a fucking MacDonald's meal. How do you know happiness if you don't know human suffering? Have you ever felt your heart beat for something that's NOT money or a brand new TV or a promotion at work? Have you ever read a line in some book, stopped, put your hand on your chest and sighed to yourself, before you could go on reading? Do you not feel anything for life? For me? For love? WHERE IS YOUR GODDAMN PASSION?

I choose fleeting passion over eternal mediocrity anytime. It's so mind-numbing and paralyzing to live in this time. We are an age of emotional repression. Think we have more freedom of speech than our forefathers, sure. But this is a dying age for poetry. We can talk, but we can't express. Oh God we can't express. This age should be called the UN-freedom of expression. Because we've silenced ourselves the minute we were born into this earth.

I sit in an empty bus on my way home from the auditions. It is late. It's just the bus driver and me, and the last passengers had left. Under the fluorescent lighting, I wore a look of woe on my face. I look out the window and see my reflection back instead. I feel lonely, and I have never felt so uncomfortable with loneliness. I used to be able to go about my day, doing my own thing, perfectly happy so. Now I sit in an empty bus, and I'm acutely aware it's empty.

And I think it's the lack of passion in my life. I need to feel again. I have a good life, but it's not a meaningful one. I have superficial conversations and ephemeral moments of joy. I need to feel again. I have a nice house, in a nice neighborhood and a nice living partner, but there is no art on the wall. I have nice dresses and shoes and hats, but they've never seen exciting things. I have a nice bed, but tonight it is only half-occupied.

I live a life that is both half full and half empty at the same time. I know I have it in me to fill that void, but I cannot make that leap if there is nothing waiting for me on the other side.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A feeling of pity.

Three years ago, someone was leaving a string of insulting comments on my blog under the pseudonym of Kira. I found out who that person was and exposed her on my blog, saying things about her that she never spared for me. That person ran to her rich parents, cried for their help, and I was threatened by the school authorities as well as with a possible lawsuit to remove the post. I said fuck no, and the post is still up today. In fact that person is Kate Goh and one of her insults is on the sidebar of my blog - serving as I think a very apt introduction of me to whoever stumbles upon my blog.

I had a feeling that would not be the first and last run-in with the authorities for things that I publish on the web, and I was right.

When I wrote the ZT post, I was being mean. It wasn't wrong, but it was incredibly mean of me. I printed his name in full and I called him an asshole on the world wide web. He's in his second year of college (he goes to my school), he does British Parliamentary (or Worlds) debate and he is one of the most socially awkward people I have ever encountered in my life. He is infamous as "the idiot who talks too much on Facebook" and I've seen that first-hand. He's gotten into arguments with all of my smartest friends and came out looking like an absolute idiot because he just can't argue that well. And then there's something about his really weird on-and-off relationship with his girlfriend that everyone also seems to know about (by his own fault, apparently, because he publicizes everything on Facebook).

Point is, this kid is really sad. And I started feeling really sorry for him. What I did was mean, but I was prepared to remove his name if he apologized for being rude to me and for calling me racist. He didn't even have to do that if he didn't want to. I just wanted to hear something along the lines of, "May Zhee what you wrote on your blog post was really hurtful, can you please remove it?" I don't mind being called out for being mean, which I was. And I will gladly remove anything if asked nicely and given a reason to. What I don't like is people going around my back to the thought police and asking them to do it instead. Which is what ZT, proving all my points about white privilege, did. ZT writes some sob story letter to an authority figure saying that what I had said is affecting his ability to function in some instances or something retarded like that, and I was told that I should remove his name. I said what anyone who knows me expects me to say, which is fuck no.

This guy can say all the shit he said, some of which were very offensive to minorities, but can't deal with being called an asshole online? Give me a break. At least his partner-in-crime owned up to his shit. (I've removed his name too, even though no one asked and there were no implications for me, because I just gained an ounce of respect for him after all this.)

I messaged ZT, threatened the one body part he didn't have, and found out that apparently, his major concern with his name being up was that the DEBATE COMMUNITY would read my blog and think less of him. It's both a valid and invalid worry, because from what I heard he does not have a very good reputation in the community at all. Invalid because he's stupid to think anyone from the community knows of me or my blog before, but now that some of my pissed friends want to circulate the post around, they might. But all of this really is just sad. This guy's biggest concern is his image in a community that either didn't give a shit about him or thought he was "that weird kid with girlfriend problems who talks too much".

So as the night went on (this happened yesterday), I was eating, drinking and being merry and this came to me when I was somewhat tipsy but I was like...holy crap. I am picking on this awkward sophomore in college who has never been to a legitimate party in his entire life. Who will probably never know how it feels to be attractive. Who wears grandpa pants. Who was so affected by what I said it consumed his life. And here I am, two weeks after landing from an awesome summer in KL, eating delicious homecooked meal from my bf and watching The Wire with our whiskey mix drinks.

I could insist on my right to free speech, and resist this attempt at silencing me when I'm doing nothing wrong, but at this point I just felt like I was being mean to a disabled person. ZT is not Kate Goh. Kate Goh had more guts than he did and probably a more awesome life. And I have no qualms about being mean to a person like that. But ZT...

For all this talk about privilege, maybe I should realize that there are a couple of things I am better than ZT at (like, life) and that I should stop torturing the poor kid. I guess I did what I did thinking he would not be badly hurt or affected by it, but turns out he was. And for that, I'm sorry.

Not really. But it's close. A very close feeling to being sorry. A feeling of pity.